Quinces are grown in this country, but most are imported from Turkey which is the world’s largest producer.
We are lucky enough to know a few people who have quince trees in their gardens and bring the fruit to the restaurant.
It’s a member of the pear family, but is best eaten cooked as the flesh is hard and very tart.
The longer the cooking process the better as the beautiful aromas are released and the hard fruit breaks down.
Quinces contain a high amount of pectin and are therefore very good as jam or the wonderful paste Membrillo.
Unlike pears, quinces have an exotic smell which is sometimes likened to pineapple, roses and wine.
The tartness of the fruit and the complexity of flavour means that they can be used with savoury and sweet pairings.
I particularly like quince with pork or duck as it helps to cut the fat and enhances the flavour.
I have also tried chopping some up and adding it to the filling for apple crumble which definitely lifted this dessert to a new level.
So once you have mastered cooking this much underused fruit you can decide whether to eat it with ham, ice cream or cheese.
150g brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 star anise
1. Cut the quinces in half.
2. Put all of the ingredients into a large pan and place on a very low heat.
3. Cook for two hours, checking every 20 minutes to ensure the liquid does not completely evaporate.
4. Add more water if necessary. The quinces should be knife tender, caramelised and sticky.
5. Allow to cool and remove the core before serving.